Category Archives: Stranded Knitting

Knitsonik Quotidien Colourwork Workshop

Back in February I went to a very fun workshop with Felix held at Purlescence in Wantage. The theme was using our favourite everyday objects or views as inspiration for stranded colourwork knitting.

I took along a Williamson tea caddy that was a present from my mum. I love the shape, the colours and the patterns on it, and I love a good cup of tea. I was keen to see how to go about using it for knitting inspiration.

We were each given a book of squared paper for our experiments and a very helpful handout, and then let loose on an enormous selection of different colours of Jamieson and Smith Shetland 2ply Jumper Weight. Felix gave us very good advice on tweaking our colour choices and pattern designs so that they would work well in stranded knitting. She was also incredibly helpful in getting me to actually see the many many colours that were in my tin, and to encourage me to play with colours I don’t usually go for.

Here is the tin and what I knitted on the day.

P1000160Β It was very liberating just playing with colour and pattern, and with no constraints that it had to actually be suitable for a garment or be anything I would actually wear.

It was very addictive stuff and after a week or playing I ran out of yarn and so decided to declare my swatch finished πŸ™‚

P1000184As you can see I have gone with the more is more school of colour selection πŸ™‚

I really enjoyed playing around with colours and different patterns. I’m not sure yet that this swatch is going to lead into anything directly, but it was good fun and I may well come back to it at some point.

It was also really interesting to see the variety of different inspiration sources the other participants had brought, and the lovely colourwork that they created. Lots of great ideas.

Stranded Knitting

Today has been a whole day of knitting in the workshop. We have been doing stranded knitting with a yarn in each hand, and steeking, and some people have been continuing with their lace from yesterday.

These are two variations of the coffee pot cover Fiona has designed. It is the same pattern but one uses the multicolour yarn for the background and the other for the foreground.



For those who preferred to start on something a little smaller, Fiona also designed some mug hugs for people to try.



And a beret pattern, for those who wanted to make something with shaping in, but without the steeks. These three berets are from the same pattern, but with different yarns. The first two have been blocked over plates, but the third left to dry to its unstretched shape, for if you prefer a more casual look.




Sandra as completed our first finished project of the week with her mug hug!


Swiftly followed by Elisabeth with hers.


I am making progress with my rather fluorescent coffee pot cover:


And I have done a bit more of my lace.


Everybody has been doing really well, and learning lots.

A Christmas stocking for my nephew Aaron

This year will be my nephew Aaron’s first Christmas, so I thought I had better make him a Christmas stocking, similar to the one I made for his big sister Jenny a couple of years ago:

and the other side:

I used Cascade 220, and 3mm needles so it makes a very firm fabric.

I also wove in the un-used colour every other stitch so that little fingers and little presents wouldn’t get caught up in the floats on the inside.


A quartet of hats

After our trip to the Alexandra Palace Knitting and Stitching show in October I came down with a monster three-week cold, and spent some time drifting round the house sniffing, coughing, and feeling sorry for myself. The one good productive side of this is that I knitted up 4 hats, which have now had a good wash to remove any lingering germs πŸ™‚

First was an Icelandic inspired hat, I started knitting this at a workshop with an Icelandic knitter organised by Janine at Ash:

The yarn is Istex Lett-Lopi, and I used 5mm needles.

The snowflake pattern is based on one from one of the Lopi books though I fiddled around with it a little, Sue suggested the Vikkel braid, and I made the rest up. The yarn is rather hairy and I was a bit worried that I would find it scratchy, but I think it is going to be ok. Even though this is the thinner of the Lopi yarns it still makes quite a nice warm hat, and I predict it will see lots of use in the coming months.

The second hat is a bit cheaty because it is only baby size, but it is very cute. This is for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s first baby (a girl) who is due to be born around Christmas.

The pattern is Beamish by Woolly Wormhead, the yarn is KnitPicks Swish DK (100% superwash merino) in Hollyberry, I used 3.75mm needles, and made the 16in size. This was a quick and fun knit, and I enjoyed the squiggles on the top.

My third hat was also a kiddie pattern by Woolly Wormhead, this time Queenie, but I sized it up to fit me.

I used Artesano Superwash Merino, and 3.75mm and 4mm needles.

The yarn was lovely to knit with, but is quite drapey. I think a slighly more substantial yarn might have been better for this style.

Towards the end of our photoshoot of this one, my Director of Photography said “try not to smile quite so widely”:

I think my modelling career may be on hold. This does rather remind me of the old maltesers advert with the crocodile and the wide-mouthed frog.

The last hat is yet another Woolly Wormhead one, though this time one designed for adults. This is Meret:

I used Cascade 220 which I bought at Ally Pally, 4.5mm needles, and knitted the 22in size.

Another fun knit. It has been rather gratifying to knit some smaller projects where you can actually see your progress and have a finished item in a reasonable time. I shall be all kitted out for the winter too now πŸ™‚

Christmas stocking for Oliver

Oliver’s mum asked me last year if I would make him a Christmas stocking, but unfortunately things were looking a bit frantic at the end of last year. This year however I have got my act together, and luckily Oliver is still young enough that hopefully he might not have noticed the absence of the stocking last year.

Here is the first side of his stocking:

And here the second:

The yarn used was Hobbycraft double knitting acrylic for the white, and Hayfield Bonus DK acrylic for the other colours. I found the Hobbycraft yarn a bit thin and am not sure I would use it again, but the Hayfield seemed more robust. I used 3mm needles even though this is a DK weight yarn so that the stocking would be firm enough not to stretch too much, and so that presents wouldn’t poke through. I also wove in the colour not in use every other stitch so there would not be long floats on the inside to get caught on little fingers or on the corners of presents.

It is now winging its way to its new owner and hopefully will reach there in time for Father Christmas to do his job πŸ™‚

A Christmas stocking for Jenny

Last Christmas was my neice Jenny’s first Christmas, so I thought she had better have a Christmas stocking with her name on it, even if she was a bit young at 3 months to really understand.

Here is one side:

And here the other:

The snowflake is a traditional Scandinavian pattern:

The reindeer came from a free Drops pattern, but I’m afraid I can’t remember which one:

And the letters and the tree came out of my head:

Here it is full of presents (provided by her parents) on Christmas Eve after she had gone to bed.

The yarn is Cascade 220 which Annie and Mummy bought at Knitty City, Annie’s local yarn shop in New York, and I used 3mm needles. The yarn is an American worsted weight, which is a bit thicker than our DK weight, but thinner than our Aran weight, so the needles I used are very small for the thickness of yarn. This makes a nice firm fabric that will hold its shape hopefully through years of wear, and the presents wont poke out.


Things have been a bit quiet on the blog because I have been knitting like a maniac to get my Autumn in Anatolia jumper finished. I made it! and handed it in to Fiona to mark on Sunday. I shall now be catching up on everything I haven’t done over the last week or so, when it has been definitely knitting every minute that I could find to finish on time. I managed a row in the hairdresser, and a row at my Uncle and Auntie’s house when we went to see them last week. I am definitely getting better at time management though, because this time I had packed my bag and finished everything at 8pm the night before, rather than still printing charts at 5am like I was with my Keble Cardigan.

Anyway, back to the important stuff: here is the jumper:

And the back:

And another one of the front:

And lying flat:

As you can see the sleeves are looking a bit long because I had a moment of stupidity with the blocking. I laid it out on a towel and kept adjusting the shoulders to make sure they were even, not realising that I was stretching everything vertically. By the time I realised what I had done it had dried and there wasn’t enough time to wet and reblock. I will be doing that when it is back from marking.

Apart from that little hiccup I am very pleased and proud of it. I love the way the colours and patterns have come out and I think it is going to be very wearable. Although in typical fashion we are now having a week of warmish weather πŸ™‚

Joining in the sleeves

The day before I headed off for Skip North I finally got to the point where I joined in the sleeves for Autumn in Anatolia. (feel free to imagine the dance of great achievement I am now doing)

I also ended up having a bit of a late night despite the next day’s early start because I wanted to knit at least 4 rows and make sure I hadn’t accidentally twisted one of the sleeves or anything similarly awful.

The sleeves are set-in style but I am knitting them in the round in one piece with the body (there was much calculating that went into that one!). After a week and a half of manic knitting I have now finished the decreases on the body for the bottom of the armhole, and am now back to only two pages of charts rather than the previous three, which was rather unwiedly. Although it does mean that I am now doing four decreases per round rather than the previous eight, so progress is slowing up a bit.

I put the underarm stitches for both the body and the sleeves onto holders initially, but was getting a bit worried that with all the taking it in and out of my knitting bag that the stitches were getting stretched. So on Sunday I had a big session and sewed in a lot of the loose ends from when I had changed colour, and also grafted the underarms. IN FAIRISLE! I can’t sufficiently convey how pleased I am that this has come out well. I am very proud. There was much jumping round the living room with glee.

I even showed it to Mummy on skype, but I think it is hard to appreciate the marvelousness with only a grainy webcam picture.

The graft is the final row of the stripes. I am hoping it will look a bit more even after I have blocked the whole jumper.

Le Tour de Fleece: Day Seven

The cyclists did their biggest climb so far this tour, into Andorra, and I have crested my own little summit with my spinning.

I have finished my first fullΒ  bobbin of the tour. Yes, the grey Dorset is finally finished! Only two bobbins of the white to go and then I can ply it and see what it will be like as yarn.


In honour of the occaision I have been playing at making mosaics with Picasa 3. So here is a recap of my progress on this yarn on the tour.


And another, because if a thing is worth doing, it is worth overdoing.


I ran my foot over with our side gate shortly after taking these photos while having a quick tidy up outside. It is a nice substantial gate. I am hopping around now (well not right now, since even with the laptop I can’t type and hop at the same time). I shall go and bathe it and anoint it in a minute.

I have been managing to do a spot of knitting in between all the spinning. I have finally finished my latest test sample for my current City and Guilds project. I was test driving how the colours work, and also testing 6 possible patterns, of which I will probably use 3. This is the project I have been dyeing all the colours for.

This is it in its unblocked, straight off the needles state.

These are the most likely 3 patterns.


And these are the three probably rejects.


As you can see the edging at the bottom edge is too loose. I think the top edge is better but now probably a bit tight. I am reserving final judgement until after it has been washed. The top edging is worked on smaller needles, which I think works well, but I think I decreased too many stitches.

I also think I need to introduce another couple of intermediate colours. Another medium orange about half way up to ease the transition from red to orange, and a very pale orange just before the yellow. It is coming along though, and I am looking forward to being able to measure the tension after it has been washed and start plotting out the final design.


Like the rest of the UK we have had unaccustomed snowiness over the last few days. It started on Sunday night:


and by Monday looked like this:


This is definitely the most snow we have seen here since we moved in. Paul’s work had emailed and told everyone to work from home unless it was critical that they made it into the office so we put on our warm clothes and stayed indoors. At lunch time we went for a walk around the village to assess the situation.

The station was closed:


But there was some surprisingly industrious snow enginnering going on. Unfortunately I failed to photograph the large igloo in progress on the village green, but did photograph the snowman on the common (for reference Paul is about 6 feet tall – that is one tall snowman! Click the picture for the full effect).


It was very beautiful but a bit cold, so after a circuit of part of the common we came home and dried off and had hot chocolate πŸ™‚

The snow is definitely on its way out now although I am surprised by how well it has lasted.

And now to justify the knitting blog part – well not actually knitting, but ingredients for knitting at least. I mentioned that I had been doing some more dyeing while my parents were visiting. Here are my latest efforts. They are for some more experimenting for my next City and Guilds project, which is coming along, although slowly.


I am very pleased with the oranges, they have come out pretty much as I planned. The green was a bit of an experiment. This is the first time I have had a go with Kemtex acid dyes, and this is their green. It is quite a bit bluer than I was expecting, and too blue for this project, though it is a lovely colour. I have also been playing with the acidity again (me, obsessive, heaven forbid!), and I made the solution for the green a little more acid than my last experiments. One of the reasons for this was the discovery that if you make up dye solutions and then leave them for 3 months, the less acidic ones go a bit mouldy (although they do still dye the yarn fine). However since the acid fixes the dye to the yarn, and the stronger the acid the faster the fixing (this means that the colours don’t run as far), in this case the colour has hardly had a chance to get onto the yarn before it is being fixed to it, resulting in the inside of the yarn if you unply it being considerably paler than the outside. It is an interesting effect, and makes the yarn look slightly heathered which is pretty, but I think I will reduce the acid next time and aim for a more solid colour.